The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is currently processing microfilmed immigration records of persons crossing the U. This web page is adapted from Claire Prechtel-Kluskens, "Mexican Border Crossing Records (3 parts)," Vol. After 1874, collectors forwarded only statistical reports to the Treasury Department. S.-Mexican border; and (3) describes available NARA microfilm publications containing these records. The act also required that the collector submit a quarterly report or abstract, consisting of copies of these passenger lists, to the Secretary of State, who was required to submit such information at each session of Congress. This article (1) gives background information about the records; (2) describes the government forms used to record information about persons crossing the U. Early records relating to immigration originated in regional customhouses. Each district had a headquarters port with a customhouse and a collector of customs, the chief officer of the district. 489) required the captain or master of a vessel arriving at a port in the United States or any of its territories from a foreign country to submit a list of passengers to the collector of customs. Customs Service conducted its business by designating collection districts.The lists themselves were retained by the collector of customs.Customs records were maintained primarily for statistical purposes.
1085), and was later designated a bureau in 1895 with responsibility for administering the alien contract-labor laws.In 1900 administration of the Chinese-exclusion laws was added. land borders was not required by early immigration acts.Initially the Bureau retained the same administrative structure of ports of entry that the Customs Service had used. Thus, statistical treatment of Canadian and Mexican border immigrants at times has differed from that of other immigrants.By the turn of the century it began to designate its own immigration districts, the numbers and boundaries of which changed over the years. When records of arrivals began to be kept at the Canadian border in 1895 and at the Mexican border, ca.In 1903 the Bureau became part of the Department of Commerce and Labor; its name was changed to the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization when functions relating to naturalization were added in 1906. 1906, the immigration authorities found it impractical to collect arrival information on lists as they did for ship passengers.In 1933 the functions were transferred to the Department of Labor and became the responsibility of the newly formed Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Roosevelt's Reorganization Plan V of 1940, the INS was moved to the Department of Justice. Therefore, separate cards or "card manifests" for each person were used instead.The INS was abolished in 2003, and its immigration and naturalization recordkeeping functions were transferred to the new Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services within the new Department of Homeland Security, established January 24, 2003, by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Pub. These cards contained the same information as that collected on traditional ship passenger arrival lists, such as full name, age, sex, marital status, occupation, point of arrival in the United States, and final destination.Beginning in 1895, immigrants who arrived at Canadian seaports with the declared intention of proceeding to the United States were recorded and included in the immigration statistics.Other alien arrivals at land borders began to be reported in 1906, and reporting was fully established in 1908 under authority of an act of February 20, 1907 (34 Stat. Not all aliens entering via the Canadian and Mexican borders were necessarily counted for inclusion in the immigration statistics.Before approximately 1930, no count was made of residents of Canada, Newfoundland, or Mexico who had lived in those countries for a year or more if they planned to enter the United States for less than 6 months.However, from about 1930 to 1945, the following classes of aliens entering via the land borders were included in immigration statistics: These classes were revised in 1945 so that the statistics of arriving aliens at land border ports of entry for 1945-52 included arriving aliens who came into the United States for 30 days or more, and returning alien residents who had been out of the country more than 6 months.